Battle Royal

Topics: Black people, White people, Race and Ethnicity Pages: 2 (897 words) Published: April 23, 2011
The short story “Battle Royal,” written by Ralph Ellison, has a lot of symbolic meanings. It’s about a young African American teenager who had just graduated from High School, and his grandfather had also recently died. He was invited to give his graduation speech in front of a group of white men. He arrived and was told to participate in the battle royal that was to take place as entertainment for the audience. Before the fight started a nude dancer was put in the ring as a distraction. She was mistreated and thrown about the room violently. The boys were blindfolded and told to go at it. The young teen and one other boy were the only two left in the ring, but the other boy won. After the fight there was a rug with money on it to pay the boys for the fight. They were told to take whatever they could get their hands on. When the boys went for the money they were shocked by the coins as a prank to please the white folk in the room. The boys were released and told to go home, but the young teen still had to give his speech. He was put on a podium and started to give the speech. As he gave the speech the men ridiculed him and were very rude. After the speech the young teen was presented a brief case for giving his speech. In the brief case was a scholarship to the local Negro college. The symbolism was conveyed in numerous ways in Ralph Ellison’s, “Battle Royal.” Some of these symbols are the battle itself, the electrified coins, the nude dancer, and the briefcase. The battle royal itself has a lot of meaning when it comes to equality. It signifies the power that blacks had over whites and all of the adversity that blacks went through to gain equality throughout that time period. “Uppercut him! Kill him! Kill that big boy!” (Ellison 248). I cannot imagine how cruel the whites were being to the blacks during and after the battle royal. Sometimes it was shocking and not shocking at the same time. I believe that Ellison chose the “Battle Royal” as one of the main...
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